Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Today’s Reading List – March 21, 2007

Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:45 am, March 21st 2007     —    1 Comment »

Rumor – one can hope it is true.  Noonan's not just conservative, but a well-regarded religious conservative.

You know, when you read stuff like this, I am reminded that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  It was necessary to call Stalin an ally to beat Hitler.  Even if you think Mormons are satanic (THEY'RE NOT! But roll with me for a minute here) they are a far cry better that what the left will bring us.  The left simply cannot tell the difference between creedals and Mormons, and if we allow our theological differences to divide us politically we will give the left opportunity to silence us both.

Sometimes, I think this religion issue is just getting silly, but it turns out there is something sillier.

Lowell:  Well, those WaPo writers have lots of column inches to fill.  The pressure to find something to write about must be unbearable . . . .

OK, This is an utter cheap shot.  Beliefnet reports:

One out of every six dollars raised last year by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney came from the predominantly Mormon state of Utah, highlighting the relationship between the former Massachusetts governor and the Mormon church.

What relationship precisely?  Donations from a community do not indicate a formal relationship of any sort, simply a better response to what a candidate is doing from that community.  Was there fundraising activity by the church or affiliated church agencies?  NO – we've been through that.

Almost a year ago we looked at the fact that some of Romney's leading supporters were Mormons and predicted that it could be used as a basis to make a "religious conspiracy" case.  I wonder what percentage of donations W. got were from Evangelicals?  Did that mean there was an evangelical conspiracy?

That Mormons are responsive to the Romney campaign is neither astonishing nor sinister.  Stories like this exist to create the appearance of malfeasance where none exists.

LowellIt would have been better to say, "highlighting the strong support for the former Massachusetts governor in predominantly Mormon communities."  That would have been accurate and would have avoided the embarrassingly provincial language that Beliefnet actually used.

Gustav Niebuhr on anti-Catholic bias and bigotry:

In a democracy that encodes freedom of speech alongside free exercise of religion in its first, fundamental statement of liberty, some people are just going to act on their urge to sneer at another's faith. That's their freedom.

But when such attacks become truly venomous, and especially when they take place out in the open, in public venues, it's really up to the rest of us to condemn them for what they are and to do so in the name of a civil society whose health we all should value.


Guliani's "family problems" continue to play in the news.  Some are trying to cast the Romney/Guliani choice as "pick your evil."  As we said last week these two things cannot be grouped together as simply "private matters."  Religion is about ideas and beliefs that may or may not translate into action, or even different actions in different people holding the same beliefs.  Religion is formative of character to varying levels in varying individuals, but not defining.

Family life, on the other hand, is action, deeds done, and is therefore indicative of character.   We unquestionably learn something about people from how they behave in their family settings.  People can change and people can improve, but such change and improvement will be evident in many ways.  Somethings are out of a candidate's hands (for example, a candidate that has turned over a new family leaf may remain estranged from children of a prior marriage because those children may not have, as of yet, undergone similar improvement) but efforts to hide or privatize the current family situation certainly indicates to me that no new leaf has been turned.

The later link here quotes Romney indirectly from a Monday Fox and Friends appearance:

In response to a question, Romney said the American people will look more at an individual's character and vision than religion.

Nothing tells me more about a candidate's character than how he handles his, or her, family.

Late update from LowellJeff Jacoby's comment in today's Boston Globe is right on point with John's argument above:

A man who publicly castigates an adulterous president while secretly carrying on an affair of his own — as Gingrich did in 1998 — may be a hypocrite, but he has not undermined the public code that condemns adultery and celebrates marital faithfulness. By contrast, a man who flaunts his infidelity and goes out of his way to publicly humiliate his wife — as Giuliani did in 2000 — has behaved far more destructively. He has not just violated society's moral guidelines: He has subverted them. There are saints and sinners in every political camp, and no party has a monopoly on 'family values.' When the spotlight was on Clinton's indiscretions, that was something too many Republicans tended to forget.


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